When Count Tolstoi speaks of the Church and its dogmas, he refers especially, of course, to the Orthodox Greek Church, the national church of Russia. The following summary of the teachings of the Orthodox Greek Church is taken from Prof. T. M. Lindsay's article in the Encyclopędia Brittanica, ninth edition, volume xi. p. 158. Variations from the Roman Catholic doctrine are indicated by small capitals, and variations from Protestant doctrine by italics.
"Christianity is a divine revelation, communicated to mankind through Christ; its saving truths are to be learned from the Bible and tradition, the former having been written, and the latter maintained uncorrupted through the influence of the Holy Spirit; the interpretation of the Bible belongs to the Church, which is taught by the Holy Spirit, but every believer may read the Scriptures.
"According to the Christian revelation, God is a trinity, that is, the divine essence exists in three persons, perfectly equal in nature and dignity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father only. Besides the triune God, there is no other object of divine worship, but homage (ὑπερδουλία) may be paid to the Virgin Mary, and reverence (δουλία) to the saints and to their pictures and relics.
"Man is born with a corrupt bias, which was not his at creation; the first man, when created, possessed IMMORTALITY, PERFECT WISDOM, AND A WILL REGULATED BY REASON. Through the first sin, Adam and his posterity lost IMMORTALITY, AND HIS WILL RECEIVED A BIAS TOWARDS EVIL. In this natural state, man, who, even before he actually sins, is a sinner before God by original or inherited sin, commits manifold actual transgressions; but he is not absolutely without power of will towards good, and is not always doing evil.
"Christ, the Son of God, became man in two natures, which internally and inseparably united make One Person, and, according to the eternal purpose of God, has obtained for man reconciliation with God and eternal life, inasmuch as he, by his vicarious death has made satisfaction to God for the world's sins; and this satisfaction was PERFECTLY COMMENSURATE WITH THE SINS OF THE WORLD. Man is made partaker of reconciliation in spiritual regeneration, which he attains to, being led and kept by the Holy Ghost. This divine help is offered to all men without distinction, and may be rejected. In order to attain to salvation, man is justified, and, when so justified, can do no more than the commands of God. He may fall from this state of grace through mortal sin.
"Regeneration is offered by the word of God and in the sacraments, which, under visible signs, communicate God's invisible grace to Christians when administered cum intentione. There are seven mysteries or sacraments. Baptism entirely destroys original sin. In the Eucharist, the true body and blood of Christ are substantially present, and the elements are changed into the substance of Christ, whose body and blood are corporeally partaken of by communicants. All Christians should receive the bread and the WINE. The Eucharist is also an expiatory sacrifice. The new birth when lost may be restored through repentance, which is not merely (1) sincere sorrow, but also (2) confession of each individual sin to the priest, and (3) the discharge of penances imposed by the priest for the removal of the temporal punishment, which may have been imposed by God and the Church. Penance, accompanied by the judicial absolution of the priest, makes a true sacrament.
"The Church of Christ is the fellowship of all those who accept and profess all the articles of faith transmitted by the apostles, and approved by General Synods Without this visible Church there is no salvation. It is under the abiding influence of the Holy Ghost, and therefore cannot err in matters of faith. Specially appointed persons are necessary in the service of the Church, and they form a threefold order, distinct jure divino from other Christians, of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. The four Patriarchs of equal dignity have the HIGHEST RANK AMONG THE BISHOPS, AND THE BISHOPS united in a General Council represent the Church and infallibly decide, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, all matters of faith and ecclesiastical life. All ministers of Christ must be regularly called and appointed to their office, and are consecrated by the sacrament of orders. Bishops must be unmarried, and PRIESTS AND DEACONS MUST NOT CONTRACT A SECOND MARRIAGE. To all priests in common belongs, besides the preaching of the word, the administration of the SIX SACRAMENTS,—BAPTISM, CONFIRMATION, PENANCE, EUCHARIST, MATRIMONY, UNCTION OF THE SICK. The bishops alone can administer the sacrament of orders.
"Ecclesiastical ceremonies are part of the divine service; most of them have apostolic origin; and those connected with the sacrament must not be omitted by priests under pain of mortal sin."